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Rooting guide for the National League playoffs

Are you looking for a team to root for this postseason? Maybe one of the NL teams is for you.

MLB: Atlanta Braves at Washington Nationals Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports

The playoffs are here! Tonight is the National League Wild Card game between the Milwaukee Brewers and Washington Nationals. The winner will go on to face the Dodgers in the NLDS, while the Cardinals and Braves are the other NLDS matchup.

We would all prefer to root for the Orioles in the playoffs, but it wasn’t meant to be this year. So if you’re like me, you need a backup team. Will you find that team in the NL this season? I gotta say, I don’t find any of these teams very inspiring. But maybe you will. Read on to see my pros and cons for rooting for each of the five NL playoff teams.

Milwaukee Brewers

Last playoff appearance: 2018 (lost NLCS to Dodgers)
Last World Series appearance: 1982 (lost to Cardinals)
Last World Series win: N/A
Former Orioles: Matt Albers

Pros: There is nothing very special about the Brewers, in my opinion. There is also nothing particularly offensive. They are probably the least annoying team in the NL playoffs. They’re not there every year, they don’t have any offensive chants, and they’re not trying to steal a bunch of the Orioles’ money. Also, they’re playing the Nationals in the first round and that’s good enough for me.

Cons: If you don’t want to remember bad trades made by the Orioles the recent past, maybe the Brewers isn’t who you want to root for. Their closer is Josh Hader, traded for Bud Norris in 2013. One of their top starting pitchers, Zach Davies, was an O’s prospect before being traded to the Brewers for Gerardo Parra of all people.

Washington Nationals

Last playoff appearance: 2017 (lost NLDS to Cubs)
Last World Series appearance: N/A
Former Orioles: Jeremy Hellickson, Gerardo Parra

Pros: Max Scherzer is on the Nationals and he’s one of the most enjoyable baseball players around right now. He’s an intense bad ass who, earlier this year, broke his nose during batting practice and made his start the very next day, black eye and all. He’s just a lot of fun. Also on the team is Sean Doolittle, one of the best humans in baseball. I highly recommend him as follow on Twitter. They’ve also never won the World Series, although they’ve only existed since 2005 so that’s not too awful.

Cons: The Nationals breezed into the Mid-Atlantic and stole the Orioles’ thunder and many of their fans. They’ve been involved in a lawsuit with the Orioles almost since the beginning when it was Peter Angelos who allowed them to come to his region in the first place. Also they’ve never won a postseason series which is fun.

Los Angeles Dodgers

Last playoff appearance: 2018 (lost WS to Red Sox)
Last World Series appearance: 2018
Last World Series win: 1988
Former Orioles: Justin Turner, Rich Hill

Pros: The Dodgers haven’t won the World Series since 1988, so there is an entire generation (or more) who have never seen their team win the WS. That’s something Orioles fans can relate to.

Cons: Something that Orioles fans cannot relate to is the fact that the Dodgers have been in the World Series the past two seasons and that they have won their division every year since 2013. Even though they haven’t won the WS, frankly I’m getting a little tired of seeing them in the playoffs every darn year.

St. Louis Cardinals

Last playoff appearance: 2015 (lost NLDS to Cubs)
Last World Series appearance: 2013 (lost to Red Sox)
Last World Series win: 2011
Former Orioles: Matt Wieters, Andrew Miller

Pros: I would love if Matt Wieters was on the team that won the World Series! He’s a backup catcher these days and he never quite lived up to the hype, but he was one of our guys for a long time and it’s hard to let that go.

Cons: Maybe the Cardinals haven’t been to the playoffs since 2015 but it sure feels like they are there all the time, doesn’t it? They have won more World Series than any team not named the Yankees and on top of that, their fans are obsessed with the idea that they are the greatest fans in baseball. Pass.

Atlanta Braves

Last playoff appearance: 2018 (lost NLDS to Dodgers)
Last World Series appearance: 1999 (lost to Yankees)
Last World Series win: 1995
Former Orioles: Nick Markakis, Darren O’Day

Pros: Hey look, it’s more of our guys! Honestly, the only reason I can root for the Braves is because I am still such a big Nick Markakis fan. Ronald Acuña is also a lot of fun, but I don’t really care about him on a personal level. The Braves have had modest postseason success recently, but not enough to root against them for that reason. And 24 years is a long time to have gone without winning the WS.

Cons: This is going to be my reason every single time the Braves are in the playoffs, but it’s such a big one that I can’t even try to mix it up from year to year. I find the tomahawk chop to be one of the most terrible things done en masse by fans of a single baseball team. I hate the music, I hate the chanting, I hate the chopping hand motion. It’s all disgusting. Every time I want to root for this team because of Markakis, I tune into a home game and feel grossed out.

So who is your top pick? I think for me it might actually be the Braves thanks to my undying Markakis devotion. We’ll see once I actually have to watch an Atlanta home game if I can do it. If not them, then the Brewers I suppose.


Who is your top rooting interest among the NL Playoff teams?

This poll is closed

  • 22%
    (51 votes)
  • 16%
    (38 votes)
  • 11%
    (26 votes)
  • 7%
    (17 votes)
  • 41%
    (94 votes)
226 votes total Vote Now

Stay tuned tomorrow for my thoughts on the American League playoff teams.